A cyclist’s buying spree, minus the bike | AspenTimes.com

A cyclist’s buying spree, minus the bike

Charles Agar
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“Dude, that bike is a total liability,” a friend said recently about my heavy, circa-1995 Research Dynamics Coyote mountain bike.And while my latest rolling adventures near Aspen have gotten me all hell-fired about the sport, my particular strain of “Yankee thrift” – OK, I’m cheap – inspired me to spend money on just about everything but the bike.

Clipless pedals and shoes now glue me to the bike; a new lightweight helmet doesn’t slip off the back of my head; gloves protect my hands on those long downhills; and an under-seat bag for my tool kit means I can get back up and running in the event of a flat. Best of all, I bought a CamelBak to carry extra goodies and keep me hands-free hydrated – all additions that have upped my game on the trails around Aspen.And I did it all on the relative cheap. I pulled a whiny “Can I have a local’s discount?” on the CamelBak M.U.L.E. I bought at a Snowmass Village bike shop. But the $85 was well-spent, and the bag has served me well not just on the bike, but also on recent hikes.Now I can’t imagine hiking or biking without the ready supply of water, and the compression straps on the outside of the bag expand to hold as much as your average day pack, with many pockets handy for storing PowerBars, keys, a cell phone and those few bucks for a post-ride burger.

The first few times I forgot to click out of my new clipless pedals and keeled over, still stuck to the bike, I screamed like I’d been shot. But I find the new pedals give me extra kick on uphills.My new Giro Encinal helmet fits like a glove, thanks to a handy adjustment knob in the back – a big improvement over the 10-year-old no-name helmet that slid around on my head. I have learned, however, that the Giro leaves a geeky smile-print on my forehead if I adjust it too tightly.The Shimano pedals, helmet and Pearl Izumi gloves came from a bike shop in Carbondale, but I found Shimano shoes for $10 at a used-sporting-goods store in Glenwood Springs.

At Factory Surplus in Glenwood Springs, a place I can’t walk into without blowing $100, I bought a Pedro’s blowout seat bag. Made of recycled inner tubes and touted as the environmental alternative, I just chose it for its seeming durability and low cost. I reckon it will survive the apocalypse.So despite a bike that weighs as much as a telephone pole, my new kit is taking me to the next level, making the day I find that affordable performance bike just that much sweeter.